MOATIZE-MACUSE PROJECT TO BEGIN IN LATE 2018

Maputo – The Mozambican Ministry of Transport and Communications announced in Maputo on Friday that the construction of a new railway from the western province of Tete to Macuse, on the coast of Zambezia province, should begin in late 2018, and be concluded in the first quarter of 2021.

Speaking at a press conference, the head of the ministry’s legal department, Luis Chauque, said the project includes a new deep water port at Macuse, and a railway from the Moatize coal basin to Macuse, a distance of around 500 kilometres. The total cost of the project is currently put at US$2.7 billion, 810 million dollars for the port, and the rest for the railway.

The original estimate was for a cost of US$3.3 billion dollars. Chauque said the cost had come down because of changes introduced by the government, leading to addenda to the project which were approved by the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) in August.

The main purpose of the new railway and port will be to export coal from Tete. The proposed railway will be much shorter than the existing lines from Moatize to the ports of Beira and Nacala-a-Velha.

Macuse port will be able to take ships of up to 80,000 tonnes – Beira, a port which must be regularly dredged, cannot match this capacity, although Nacala-a-Velha can take ships of any size.

In an initial phase, Chauque said, the new railway and port will handle 25 million tonnes of cargo a year, a figure which should gradually rise until it reaches 100 million tonnes a year.

Jose Fonseca, the managing director of Thai Mocambique Limitada (TML), the consortium that will operate the railway and port, told the press conference that an “acceptable tariff” would be charged for coal exports. He expected the railway to charge 25 dollars a tonne for transport between the mine and the ship, although “there may be oscillations”.

The port and rail concession was granted to TML in 2013. The consortium consists of the Italthai Development Company of Thailand, with 60 per cent of the shares, Mozambique’s publicly owned port and rail company CFM, with 20 per cent, and the private business group CODIZA (Zambezia Development Corridor, also with 20 per cent. – AIM.

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